3/20/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Lotus Affirms Volvo-Based SUV

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Group Lotus plans to finalize the design of its first crossover/SUV by May.  Confirming previous reports, CEO Jean-Marc Gales tells Autocar the British carmaker expects to launch the new model within four years.

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Group Lotus plans to finalize the design of its first crossover/SUV by May.

Confirming previous reports, CEO Jean-Marc Gales tells Autocar the British carmaker expects to launch the new model within four years. Initial patent drawings were filed late last year.

 
The long-rumored vehicle will be based on a modified version of Volvo Car’s SPA platform that carries the Swedish company’s XC60 and XC90 crossover vehicles. Both brands are owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., which purchased Lotus and former owner Malaysian carmaker Proton last May.

Using the Volvo platform and sharing other components will allow Lotus to reduce costs. The lightweight architecture, which features the use of high-strength steel, also will help Lotus maintain its signature ride characteristics.

The yet-to-be-named crossover will share styling cues with other Lotus models and “go ‘round bends like nothing else in its segment,” Gales vows. He previously has said any Lotus SUV would be the lightest and fastest in its class.

The vehicle will be about the same size as Maserati’s new Levante crossover. Other competitors will include the Porsche Macan and Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The new Lotus model also will use the SPA’s electrical architecture and get Volvo’s large infotainment touchscreen. But Gales says the infotainment system won’t be used in future Lotus sports cars, which typically feature Spartan interiors.

The SPA structure likely will restrict the Lotus crossover to a 4-cylinder engine, Autocar notes. A hybrid-electric system also is said to be under consideration.

The vehicle will be produced in China and possibly the U.K. Gales says Lotus is hiring 250 engineers in England to develop the crossover and a pair of sports cars the company plans to launch in 2020. The sports cars will be assembled in England.